The open rebellion by four senior judges of the supreme court by placing their case in the people’s court has brought to the fore many issues confronting the judiciary.
Judiciary as we all know is the last resort for any person to seek redressal of his grievances or any other wrong that is committed by any wing of the state or even an individual. The issue that four senior judges came out openly and displayed their displeasure over the functioning of the apex court vis-a-vis allotment of cases to benches has set many speculations running wild.
The divisions and the split among the top judges has now burst out in the open after they accused the serving Chief Justice, Dipak Misra of breaching rules in assigning cases to appropriate benches.
The four judges—Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan B. Lokur besides Justice Chelameswar—besides making the allegations said that they have raised these issues with the serving CJI and even a letter was written to him in this regard.
What is more worrying is the fact that the four judges also raises some suspicion over the death of a special CBI Judge BH Loya. The senior judges were visibly upset over the reference of the matter seeking a probe into his suspicious death.
Judge Loya, who was hearing a case relating to the killing of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh in an alleged fake shootout in which BJP chief Amit Shah was named an accused (later discharged), died of cardiac arrest in 2014. His family has at that time raised doubts over the circumstances in which Judge had died and even sought an independent probe into it.
The judges did not go to the extent of naming or identifying the cases that were not dealt with properly, but the clash among the judges in the highest court also comes in the wake of a controversial order passed in November 2017.
In the order the Chief Justice was declared the master of the roster having exclusive power to decide which case will go to which judge.
The CJI had given the order a day after a two-judge bench headed by Justice Chelameswar had passed an order that a five-judge bench of senior most judges in the apex court should be set up to consider an independent probe into a corruption case in which bribes were allegedly taken in the name of settling cases pending before Supreme Court judges.
The open rebellion by the senior judges also points out to some deeper issues like the appointment of Judges for the apex court.
The Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) on appointment of judges over which the Supreme Court had locked horns with the government is yet to be settled as the government has not so far responded to the communication sent by the SC.
Whatever are the issues the people need an assurance that the institution of judiciary needs to be protected as this remains the last hope of the deprived lot.